When my blogger buddy Bonnie posed the question on Twitter asking what the hardest part of parenting was, I had an answer pretty quick: the hardest part of parenting is the constant judgment from family, friends and know-it-all strangers.
EVERYBODY has an opinion on how you should raise your child. No matter who you meet or know, everyone has something to say.
You should vaccinate. You shouldn’t vaccinate.
You should spank. You should reason because spanking is wrong and emotionally crippling.
You should set their infant sleep schedule. You should let them figure out their own schedule.
You need a bassinet. You should co-sleep.
It’s okay to put baby in a bouncy seat. You should “wear” them.
You should breastfeed. You should formula feed.
No matter what you do, you’re wrong.
Very, very wrong.
The worst part of it all is we can’t just let parents figure things out on their own. Every kid is different. Kids respond to things differently. One form of scheduling and discipline may not work for another kid. The ones who ‘know’ the most are the ones who don’t even have kids. Yup. You read that right. The stupidest advice I’ve ever received is from a childless person who insists because she worked with kids in the past, she knows everything. For the record, if you don’t have kids, don’t start doling out advice. I don’t care if you think you’re an “expert”, you just seriously need to zip it.
I was in Boston Market one day having lunch with Mini. We were happily chatting about school and all her subjects. The woman at the next table was angrily lecturing her teenager about the dangers of sex before marriage. She said “You’ll end up a teen mother like her” and gestured to me.
I was shocked. I’m well aware I don’t look my age (bless my genes – they’re awesome!) and Mini is tall for her age, but even so.. Where do you get the stones trying to call someone out like that?
I leaned over to the woman and said “I hate to bust your bubble but I was 25 when I had my daughter.” She just looked at me for a minute so I took out my license and showed her my age. They got up and left.
I judge people who judge others. What kind of person are you to sit there and tell everyone they’re doing things wrong?
Ok, I’m ranting a bit here. It just bothers me that everyone seems to have an opinion. I don’t need your snarky comments. I don’t want your help. I know my kid. I know when she’s tired or hungry. I know when you’re bothering her and when she’s immune to whatever idiotic crap you’re spewing. I know what toys she likes and the clothes she wears. Your ridiculous input and unsolicited advice is neither wanted or needed.
I know my kid. YOU do not. Mini is well-behaved, go-with-the-flow, well-adjusted, sympathetic, empathetic and loving. Obviously, I’m doing something right. Parent your own kid and leave me to parent mine.